Thursday, July 28, 2011

Survey Says...Your Feedback is Requested

When I started this blog I didn't really have a purpose in mind - back then I didn't know anyone that blogged, but a friend suggested I start one to share my discriminating tastes with the masses. I assured my friend that there were no masses, but though it might be fun to try my hand at writing. So the blog began.
As you can tell, I didn't really get in to it and let it go for a few years before picking it up and dusting it off last year. But, I'm still not sure what my purpose is, obviously it's about food, but why? and further do people read it, like it and/or tryout the recipes?  I don't know. And that my friends is why I've devised a little homework project for you...
Below I've created a little survey to get some feedback on what people like and want in a blog, with that guidance I'm hoping I can tweak the blog into something we all can love. So please take the survey and leave as much detail as possible so I can improve this little blog of mine. Thanks in advance for your participation!
Loves Denver's Dining Diva

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Carmel Sauce

Summer's Now in Full Swing, Days in the Sun call for a nice Iced Dessert - Enter Homemade Ice Cream. I've been craving Jen's delicious Carmel Sauce so I made Vanilla Ice Cream so I could have both! Homemade Ice Cream is really quite simple, you start with the basics and can add whatever flavors you want. Click here for a Super Chocolaty Recipe! Now back to some Sweet and Simple Vanilla.

The Deets
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
6 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
1 TBS Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Pure Almond Extract

The How To
Bring Cream and Milk to a Simmer over Medium-Low Heat
Separate Yolks from Whites in a Medium Bowl (make sure your bowl is big enough for all ingredients)
Whisk Egg Yolks to a Smooth Mellow Yellow 
Slowly Whisk in Sugar until Smooth
Once Smooth, SLOWLY add Milk Mixture 1/4 at a time - careful not to scramble the Egg mixture
Return to Heat  over Medium-Low and Slowly bring to 170 Degrees (Stir regularly to avoid scalding the bottom)
Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes 
Add Vanilla and Almond and Mix Well
The Next Step is the Hardest - refrigerate mixture for 4 hours to allow to cool & set
Once the Mixture is cooled add it to your ice cream maker and proceed according to your machine's directions (usually about 20 minutes)
And Don't Forget the Carmel Sauce (Jen's Delicious Recipe)
The Deets
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

The How To
Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. 
Add the sugar, cream and salt and whisk until well blended.  
Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes, whisking occasionally.
Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the vanilla extract whisk until combined.
Let cool slightly.
Enjoy your Creamy Deliciousness!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dinner Salad : Redefined

During the Summer the blistering Heat Zaps my Motivation to Cook Dinner more often than I'd like to admit.  On Nights like this Salad for Dinner is a Life Saver. In order to make a Salad into a meal you need some good lean protein, like Chicken and/or Egg (which came first?), and some healthy fats from Avocado and/or Cheese. This is a Light yet Hearty Summer Meal perfect for a Hot Summer Night.
The Deets (for 2)
4 Cups Spinach
4 Baby Peppers
1 Tomato or 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/2 Cucumber
1 Avocado
2 Hard Boiled Eggs 
   (I don't like yolk so I make my salad sans yoke)
1/4 Shredded Cheese (Tillamook Sharp Cheddar)
4 Oz Chicken Breast 
   (Usually I cook my own but today I used Precooked)
1 Handful of Raw Almonds Roughly Chopped
Dressing of Choice - this is a good salad for Ranch Dressing
Look at those beautiful Greens!
The How To
Chop It Up
Mix It Up
Serve It Up
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cheever's Cafe

Cheever's Cafe is a great little spot for a fun and fancy lunch or a special dinner. Cheever's is located in midtown Oklahoma City. My dinning companions on this fine day were 3 of my favorite girls here in Oklahoma; even though there were four discerning diners we stuck to two great dishes, one not so great appetizer and a fantastic dessert.

First up: The Appetizer  Roasted Chicken and Pepper Jack Strudel
This dish is billed as "Roasted Chicken Breast, Green Chilies and Pepper Jack Cheese Sandwiched between layers of flaky Filo Dough". It was bad, so bad in fact that I can't think of one nice thing to say about it. It tasted like canned chicken or tuna mixed with mayo. It was flavorless and dense and not at all appealing. The Strudel is a massive Fail and earns a first on the Dining Diva: a zer0. That's right zer0 Diva Stars for this sad excuse of a dish.

Moving on to happier dining memories: The Seared Ahi Tuna Salad
This salad was fantastic! The Tuna was seasoned and seared to perfection. The Greens were Crisp, the Tomatoes ripe and the Mangos, Strawberries and Blueberries were all perfectly sweet. The Salad was topped with feta and a lemon vinaigrette. If you've read this blog at all you know that I am not a fan of dressing, but this dressing was actually good and I used some of it. This was a perfect dish for a hot summer day. Light and Fresh with a depth of flavor. The Ahi Tuna Salad gets an 8/10 Diva Stars

The other dish of choice was the Lobster Mac & Cheese. The Mac & Cheese is a bowtie pasta in a fontina-jack sauce with chunks of grilled lobster. (Sorry for the lack of photo - it was too good to wait)
Again, if you've read this blog at all, you know I've got a thing for mac&cheese, but I've got a special spot for Lobster Mac & Cheese. To date the best Lobster Mac I've ever had was at the Wash Park Grille in Denver, this lobster mac was as good if not better!  It was delicious and included actual chunks of lobster.  The Lobster Mac&Cheese also earns an 8/10 Diva Stars.

On to Dessert! The Wild Huckleberry Creme Brulee
Creme Brulee is one of those desserts that is one of 2 things: pure perfection or a complete and utter failure.  Cheever's Huckleberry Creme Brulee is divine. The custard is perfectly creamy, the sugar is perfectly caramelized and the huckleberries are sweet, tart and perfect. The Creme Brulee earns an 8/10 Diva Stars.

Cheever's is definitely a Diva Do. The Ambience is bright, the Service is good and over all the food is Delish! Be sure to bring some great company and enjoy a good meal.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Super Red Juice

     Since I've now been back on the blogging wagon for just over a year, I figured it was time to start establishing a posting pattern.  I've been trying to Post once a week, which seems to be a good posting schedule with everything else I'm balancing.  Sometimes I have so many ideas that seem too similar I'm not quite sure what to blog about without it seeming mundane versions of the same thing - one week it's all about juicing, another month is all dessert plus I am also trying to get back to my roots of restaurant reviews, so to keep things balanced, here's the new plan:
     Once a month I will post at least one of the following: a dessert, a meal recipe, a juice and a restaurant review.  Now that we're on track lets get started! This Month's Juice is About as Red as it gets. Rich with vitamins, antioxidants and flavor.

The Deets
2 Apples
2 Pears
10 Strawberries
4 Carrots
1 Beet (look at that rich, colorful, vitamin-filled beet!)
The How To
Clean all your Fruits & Veggies
Quarter your Apples & Pears
Peel your Beet
Juice Away
Happy, Healthy Independence Day!